To the John Minton exhibition at the Pallant in Chichester (and to the retrospective of the work of our friend Mick Csaky, who was partially – and brilliantly – responsible for the design of the first grey Persephone book back in 1998). Apple Orchard Kent is a 1951 John Minton lithograph which is particularly appropriate for the end of August: it will be a good apple crop in the UK this year.


Winifred Watson (1907-2002) was brought up, and lived all her life, in Newcastle, and in 1935 married Leslie Pickering, the manager of a timber firm. She wrote Fell Top in 1935 and Odd Shoes a year later, ‘two rather strong dramas…but when they received a book that was fun – Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day [1938] – they would not accept it… I can remember to this day looking up at the publisher and saying, ‘You are wrong, Miss Pettigrew is a winner.’ But he just looked stubborn. I wrote another straight novel [Upyonder, 1938] and, when they did publish Miss Pettigrew, I was proved right.’  She published two more novels, but stopped writing not long after the birth of her son in 1941.

three sherriff

R C Sherriff (whose book The Fortnight in September will be our twelfth Classic edition this October) was born in 1896, worked in an insurance office until, early in WW1, he joined up and in 1917 was severely wounded at Ypres. After the war he returned to his former job and started writing plays for local amateur theatrical groups. Journey’s End (1929), based on his letters home from the trenches, was an enormous success and became a classic. In the 1930s Sherriff went to Hollywood to write scripts. He wrote several novels, including The Fortnight in September (1931), Greengates (1936), and The Hopkins Manuscript (1939). For many years R C Sherriff lived with his mother in a large house in Esher; he died there in 1975.

photo Malachi

Marjorie MALACHI WHITAKER (née Taylor) was born in 1895 in Bradford. In 1917 she married Leonard Whitaker, and in the mid-1920s she started to publish short stories in magazines; her first collection was published in 1929 and three more followed in 1930, 1932 and 1934, a total of 78 stories of which the Persephone selection, The Journey Home and Other Stories, reprints twenty, five from each volume. She died in 1976.

Judith R

Judith Rossner (1935-2005) was brought up in New York and in 1954 married Robert Rossner, a teacher and writer; they had a daughter in 1960 and a son in 1965. A brief marriage to Mordecai Persky was followed by a long, happy relationship with the publisher Stanley Leff. The first of her novels came out in 1966; her fourth, Looking for Mr Goodbar (1975) sold 4 million copies, and was filmed with Diane Keaton. Emmeline  (1980), her sixth novel, was based on the tragic fate of a real 13-year-old in nineteenth century Maine, sent to work in a textile mill.

diana tutton

Eight books are being printed in Germany at the moment: the three forthcoming books for the autumn, four reprints and a new Classic (The Fortnight in September). This week on the Post: five author photographs. First of all, Diana Tutton (1915-91):  Diana (Dinah) Tutton née Godfrey-Faussett-Osborne was brought up in Lichfield, and i n Kent. Early in the war she married Captain John Tutton and followed him to Kenya. A daughter was born in 1942, after which she lived and worked on a farm. In 1945 the family returned to England and another daughter was born before, in 1948, they went to Malaya for three years. Here Dinah Tutton wrote the bestselling Guard Your Daughters (1953); it was her second novel, the first, Mamma, being published in 1956. In Malaya again from 1956-8 she wrote her third novel, The Young Ones (1959).

Airy, Anna, 1882-1964; Mrs Monica Burnand

Paintings like this do not alas do anything for the reputation of painters like Anna Airy: they are thought too easy on the eye, too feminine, too redolent of social history. They are indeed the equivalent in paint of a Dorothy Whipple novel: where is the modernism, the oddity, the undertones and implications that can be analysed by academics? Not here for sure. Mrs Monica Burnand (as the painting is called) is a young woman in wartime (it was 1916) wearing a dress that she loves. Make of that what you will art historians! But we are in awe of Anna Airy’s genius.


Cookhouse, Witley Camp is now at the Canadian War Museum in Canada. Anna Airy was of course working at huge speed and almost certainly didn’t use a camera to help her remember detail: which makes her large wartime paintings (seven are extant) even more remarkable.


An Aircraft Assembly Shop, Hendon 1918. From the Imperial WarMuseum site here: ‘The scene is the interior of the Aircraft Manufacturing Company erecting shop with DH 9 planes in various stages of production. Air power became a critical factor in World War One and Hendon, with its large training school, a focus for aircraft production. On the left, the fuselages are being constructed to be run up the ramp at the back of the factory into the upper shop. There the machines are fitted out and given individual numbers and markings. Workers are grouped together according to trades, however, the layout represents the first tentative moves towards the mass production methods developed by Henry Ford in the United States.’ The painting is just over two metres wide and just under two metres high. So why oh why is Anna Airy not as well known as, say, Laura Knight? Or Winifred Nicholson? Or Dora Carrington? Some of her work (although certainly not all) is right up there with the best. Come along someone. Give her an exhibition.


And Anna Airy could paint ravishing still lives – this Roses in a Vase which was sold at auction in 2009.

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